In the wake of increasing violence against Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in California and across the nation, the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, ChangeLab Solutions, and Prevention Institute stand together to denounce the racism, violence, and hate crimes against our communities.
Violence and racism against AAPIs is not new. What we are seeing is connected to a long and shameful history, from the colonization of Hawaii and other lands, to the Chinese Exclusion Act, to the internment of Japanese Americans, to the murder of Vincent Chin, to state-sanctioned and interpersonal racism and violence against AAPI communities. From being labeled “perpetual foreigners” to the model minority myth and now the “Chinese virus,” Asian American Pacific Islanders have been scapegoated and made the enemy.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing a troubling increase in attacks on AAPIs: elders being pushed, slurs being yelled, and assaults and attempted murders on AAPI community members. The number of hate crimes reported since last year has increased 150%, which is likely an undercount due to victims not wanting to or not feeling safe to report crimes to law enforcement.
We stand in solidarity with our Asian American and Pacific Islander community members against hate, racism, and racist violence. Nobody should be targeted due to their race, ethnicity, language, immigration status, or any other identity marker. Prejudice, bigotry, and racism have no place in our communities.
In California, lawmakers have allocated $1.4 million to Stop AAPI Hate in legislation authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom. Stop AAPI Hate collects data on racist incidents nationwide, provides rapid-response technical assistance, and offers multilingual resources for affected community members.
We applaud the action taken by California and other states and cities that have condemned the attacks on AAPI communities through resolutions, policies, and enhanced funding. Further, we urge our organizational supporters and the broader community of health equity and public health advocates to push for policies that prevent racist attacks before they happen by taking on racism and white supremacy. Attacks on AAPI community members and the white supremacist rhetoric that has encouraged them are a fundamental threat to health, safety, and well-being. We must all come together to work for policies and norms that center safety, justice, and equity for AAPI community members.